Authors: Frank McLynn
In this highly acclaimed study, Frank McLynn brings vividly before us the man Charles Edward Stuart who became known to legend as Bonnie Prince Charlie and whose unsuccessful challenge to the Hanoverian throne was followed by the crushing defeat at Culloden in 1746. He argues powerfully that failure was far from inevitable and history in 1745 came close to taking a quite different turn.
Frank McLynn is currently Visiting Professor in the Department of Literature at Strathclyde University. His most recent books include
Carl Gustav Jung
(short-listed for the 1997 NCR Award),
Napoleon, 1066, Villa and Zapata
31 December 1720
Born at Rome.
Birth of his brother Henry.
His mother, Clementina Sobieska leaves James for a convent.
The prince at Bologna with his father, James, ‘the old Pretender’.
Reunion with his mother and return to Rome.
Death of Clementina Sobieska.
The prince’s tour of northern Italy.
Death of 2nd duke of Berwick (Liria).
9 January 1744
Departs Rome for France.
At Gravelines with French invasion force.
April 1744–June 1745
In France (Paris, Fitzjames, Navarre).
Sails from Nantes and Belle-Isle for Scotland.
3 August (NS)
Lands in Scotland.
19 August (OS)
Raises the standard at Glenfinnan.
Defeats Cope at Prestonpans.
21 September–1 November
Council at Derby insists on retreat.
17 January 1746
Defeats Hawley at Falkirk.
Retreat to the Highlands commences.
The prince based at Inverness.
16 April 1746
Defeated by Cumberland at Culloden.
17 April–20 September
The prince in the heather.
10 October (NS)
The prince arrives at Roscoff.
October 1746–January 1747
The prince in and around Paris.
His embassy to Madrid via Avignon.
His brother Henry departs secretly for Rome.
The prince hears that Henry has been made a cardinal.
Autumn 1747–January 1748
Affair with Louise de Montbazon.
Beginning of affair with the Princesse de Talmont.
10 December 1748
His arrest and confinement in the Chateau de Vincennes, followed by expulsion from France.
27 December 1748
He reaches Avignon.
Leaves Avignon to begin the ‘obscure years’.
The prince based in Luneville. End of the affair with the Princesse de Talmont.
Based in Ghent and Liège. Renews liaison with Clementina Walkinshaw. Failure of the Elibank Plot. Birth of his daughter Charlotte (1753).
Final break with Marischal and effective end of Jacobitism. The prince in Basle with Clementina.
The prince based at Bouillon.
Negotiations with Choiseul over projected French invasion of England.
Clementina Walkinshaw leaves him, taking Charlotte with her.
The prince renews contact with Henry.
1 January 1766
Death of his father James.
The prince returns to Rome but is not recognised as ‘Charles III’ by the Pope.
The prince based in Rome.
Marriage to Louise of Stolberg.
The prince based in Florence.
Louise of Stolberg’s affair with Alfieri.
Louise flees to a convent.
Visit of Gustav III of Sweden.
Recognises Charlotte as his legitimate daughter and makes her duchess of Albany.
Returns to Rome with his daughter.
30 January 1788
Dies in Rome, aged 67.
There has never been a comprehensive scholarly biography of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. That deficiency, is, I think, sufficient justification for the labour expended in a twelve-year Odyssey in the world of ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, a journey that also produced my first three books on the Jacobites. I have consulted nearly 100,000 individual documents in the Stuart papers and tens of thousands in other manuscript collections, especially in the Vatican archives. To the best of my knowledge, much of this material has never been used before. Yet a biography can never be purely a work of antiquarian research. I have benefited greatly from wide reading in the literature on childhood, and I have found many psychoanalytical studies and psychohistorical methodologies useful.